Rebecca’s Recommended Read

My recommended read this time is technically a listen.  In this All in the Mind podcast, from Radio National, Ulrich Boser talks about Learning to learn.

Boser is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, writing and research education issues.  He discusses learning myths, learning techniques and how to optimise what we learn.

We’re living in an era where information is only a click away.  Our historical ways of learning are outdated for the time we are living in. Boser offers up simple, effective techniques and the importance of lifelong learning.

Prowise: A Quickguide

Prowise devices (touchscreens and personal devices) and presenter tool facilitate the design and delivery of technology-enhanced interactive education. We’ve recently acquired some touchscreens in the Department of Educational Studies to support teacher education.

So what can you do with Prowise, the Prowise Presenter, Prowise Touchscreens, Prowise ProConnect app, the Prowise ProWrite pen, and the ProQuiz?

Prowise Touchscreen table

Here’s our quickguide:

  1. Getting Started
  2. Create
  3. Prepare and Present
  4. Examples
  5. Help

1. Getting Started

Existing MQ staff will have received an email notification with details about accessing your Prowise account. If not, contact Faculty IT via New MQ staff should also contact Faculty IT for access.

(a) Explore the Prowise website.

(b) Bookmark the Prowise website login page.

(c) Download the Prowise Presenter software.

Screenshot of Prowise's Presenter tools download and FAQs page
Download the Prowise Presenter to your desktop and/or device

2. Create

Create classroom presentations and activities using the Prowise Presenter software on your computer (see 1 c above) or login to Prowise to create online:


(a) View the Prowise Presenter Crash Course videos (playlist).

(b) View the Prowise Presenter Basic Functions videos (playlist) to learn about:

  • user settings
  • the toolbar
  • setting a background, adding media and tools
  • editing

(c) View the Prowise Presenter Tools videos (playlist) to learn about:

  • how to create mindmaps, timelines, quizzes, flashcards and more
  • competition and cooperation using ProConnect

(d) View the Prowise Presenter File Management videos (playlist) to learn how to:

  • save, open, and share your presentation


Students can participate on their device using either:

– the ProConnect app
– the ProConnect webpage

Students connect via or by downloading the ProConnect app on their device.

3. Prepare and Present

Before the live class, review how to manage the lesson using the Prowise ProConnect app and the Prowise Touchscreen.

(a) View the ProConnect videos (playlist) to learn how to:

  • start a ProConnect group
  • register devices and manage participants
  • screen share and live connection
  • activate voting, and analyse and save results

(b) View presenter instructional videos

Prowise ProWrite pen

(c) Read Prowise Touchscreen guides (incl. FAQs and manual) and view videos (playlist) to learn:

  • about the touchscreen features
  • how to activate and deactivate the ProWrite pen.

4. Examples

  • View Maths and Prowise with Ramsay Melhuish (19:40)

5. Help

For more information:

  • View all Prowise Instruction videos (playlist).

For technical support:

  • Email Faculty IT via OneHelp.

For pedagogical use:

Teacher of the week: Claire Layfield

Claire Layfield is a clinician, researcher and Scholarly Teaching Fellow in Speech Pathology in the Department of Linguistics at Macquarie University.

I have been a practicing speech pathologist since graduating from the Masters of Speech Language Pathology (MSLP) program in 2005. My clinical career has primarily been working with adults in both acute and rehabilitation settings. Over time I grew increasingly perplexed by the lack of support many of my patients were receiving following neurological injuries. I felt my patients were being discharged before being given a real chance at rehabilitation. The evidence to support clinicians working with these populations remains elusive. Generating this evidence to guide the selection and implementation of rehabilitation of swallowing disorders forms the basis of my (never ending soon to be submitted) PhD.

At the end of 2014, I became a mum to my gorgeous daughter who is now a cheeky little scamp with lots of sass! There isn’t much else that makes me laugh more than her musings on life and her two-year-old logic. Watching her speech and language develop is the most phenomenal process. We love reading, playing at the eel park, going on bear hunts and chasing lions.

Managing the work, study, life juggle is always challenging but I am fortunate to be surrounded by many other inspirational jugglers to learn from.

What are your main teaching commitments?

I primarily teach in the MSLP program, a post graduate program which on completion qualifies to students to practice as clinical speech pathologists. My time as a Scholarly Teaching Fellow has coincided with the redesign of the MSLP program so I have been busily developing course content for new units. The new program is grounded in a biopsychosocial approach, and our programmatic teaching transitions from the bio to the psychosocial. My areas of teaching fall primarily within the ‘bio’ realm – I teach in the areas of anatomy and physiology for speech pathology; voice and its disorders, and (by virtue of overlapping anatomy) swallowing and feeding disorders (aka dysphagia) – also the area of my research. Additionally, I teach more generally about principles of intervention and evidence based clinical practice.

I also teach classes across the undergraduate units in the Bachelor of Speech, Hearing and Language Sciences and Linguistics majors.

What’s the biggest challenge for you as a university educator?

Teaching ‘clinical reasoning’ – usually a completely novel skill for the cohort of students and something experienced clinicians find very difficult to articulate. Students are often focused on ‘what should I do?’ and more often than not there are no clear cut answers to this question. There are many clinical procedures and for every person some will be better than others. The best method for this is critical appraisal of the research to select an effective assessment or intervention, considering the individual aspects of any given case. This demonstrates clear clinical reasoning. The take away message from all my teaching across all my subjects is client-centred evidence-based clinical practice.

What has helped you improve your teaching most and why?

I am lucky to have some excellent mentors and colleagues for support. The Department of Linguistics is in the unique position of having several scholarly teaching fellows starting within similar timeframes and as a group we have forged a great support network.

Having undergone the Foundations in Learning and Teaching (FiLT) course, I have begun articulating a teaching philosophy which has led to some surprising revelations. Namely, my background as a clinician has been a huge asset to being a tertiary educator. There is a lot of overlap between the underlying principles of intervention and my role as an educator. The interplay between the roles of clinician, researcher and educator really complement each other.

What has been your most memorable moment in teaching and why?

When my students are really successful – a current MSLP Yr 2 student has been the successful recipient of the Australian Voice Association Student Encouragement Award. The nomination was very impressive, selected from a field of excellent candidates from a wide range of voice studies.

This student has gone on to enroll in SPH821 where students are required to complete a research project. Her project topic relates to transgender voice and clinical implications for speech pathologists working with transgender females. This has opened doors to new areas of research and learning opportunities for future students.

It’s also really great to hear back from students who have graduated and are practicing in the workforce.

Who is you favourite band and why?

There are too many to choose from…

For teaching: People with risky voices that sound very appealing: Lorde, Lana del Rey, Adele, Janis Joplin, Louis Armstrong.

For reminiscing: The Cure, The Pixies, The Violent Femmes.

For dancing: Morcheeba, Jamiroquai, Moloko.

All time favourite: Papa Lips

Life: Work, Family, Leisure – having it all?

Is it possible to have life balance in academia, particularly as an early career researcher? Does it really exist, what is it, and is it something we really should be aiming for?

The ECR Network have assembled a panel of researchers from different disciplines and different career stages to explore these questions. They will discuss their own lives and provide a realistic picture of the challenges and some of the things that work for them in trying to ‘balance’ work and life outside of work.

Some of the issues the panel will explore include:

  • Building a life outside academia while managing the demand for publications and research on fixed term contracts
  • Finding time to apply for grants, research, spend time with family and still find time to sleep
  • Navigating career needs with the needs of family and spouse… particularly when to pursue your career can mean relocating
  • Managing leadership and service roles with research, family and leisure
  • And more…

 The panel will be moderated by Professor Lesley Hughes and panellists include:

  • Dr Annemarie Nadort, NHMRC Early Career Fellow, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy
  • Dr Jennifer Rowland, Research Development and Training, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Dr Mauricio Marrone, Lecturer, Dept. of Accounting and Corporate Governance
  • Dr Noah Bassil, Associate Dean, Higher Degree Research, Faculty of Arts
  • Prof Jennie Hudson, Director, Centre for Emotional Health

 Please REGISTER HERE to join us on Thursday 3 August (12.30pm – 2pm) for this session Life: Work, Family, Leisure – having it all?

The flyer for the poster session is available here

For more information email

Making Lectures Interactive Workshop: A Post-Mortem

If you weren’t at our encore performance of the Making Lectures Interactive workshop (hosted by the Faculty of Science & Engineering and the Research Enrichment Program) on July 12th, boy did you miss out!

“Thank you very much for such a productive session!”
~workshop participant

Together, with approximately 60-70 lecturers from all faculties, we explored:

  • roadblocks to active / productive student learning engagement
  • strategies to guide students from surface to deeper learning
  • how to use tools in the Echo360 Active Learning Platform (ALP) –such as Interactive Slides and Analytics – for this purpose
  • methods to redesign the structure and delivery of your lecture
The how and why of Making Lectures Interactive

Key Points

  1. Transform lecture design and delivery to work within cognitive load
  2. Use learning through confusion and learning through productive failure
  3. Apply deeper learning question and justify strategies

View Presentation | Self-enrol in the Learning Innovation Hub Events iLearn unit (OneID login required) and explore the 12th July ALP presentation via the new Echo360 ALP block.

View Summary | Download workshop handout (OneID login required).

1. Transform lecture design and delivery to work within cognitive load

The clarity and simplicity of both:

  • the task itself

Task Example:
“If yesterday was Tuesday, what day of the week is tomorrow?”

  • the way in which the task is presented

Presentation Examples:
– Epilepsy Test imagery (video)
– Ron Paas (University of Wollongong) example (video)

can determine whether learning content is deemed low or high cognitive load.

Cognitive Load: knowledge as input to sensory memory, processed by working memory, stored and retrieved from long-term memory


Participants quickly recognised that:

(i) small changes to the typical ‘death-by-powerpoint’ lecture slide content

(ii) interspersed short moderately challenging activities

can temper cognitive overload.

“Utilise interactive windows to chunk my lecture in manageable lengths to avoid cognitive overload.”
~workshop participant

2. Use learning through confusion and productive failure

Santi Caballe (Open University of Catalonia, Barcelona) has a very eloquent definition of engagement:

“attentiveness to something, and with that attentiveness accompanied by positive feeling.

When engaged, they read, they post, they react, they try, they question, they keep coming back.”

When we deliver domain knowledge and design learning activities, we have potential to engage students in this way. We also, however, have the potential to cause confusion.

How can you help students, themselves and their peers, to maintain balance around the zone of optimal confusion?

View the functional Zone of Optimal Confusion (ZOC) cycle (see above) – created using Loopy – an beware of the (highwaytothedanger)zoneofoptimalconfusion.

If confusion is not mediated by the students themselves (self-regulation), or through exchange with peers, or via tutor / teacher intervention, that confusion can turn into frustration and end in students giving up (see above).

Educational technologies, like the Echo360 Active Learning Platform, offer a range of tools (such as QandA or Interactive Slides) to pause, reflect and examine student learning progress and, most importantly, provide feedback at the point of confusion either in real-time or after the lecture.

Open up some lecture windows!

Our workshop participants also identified that working in this liminal, messy, sticky, uncertain space with students, forces lecturers – the experts – to release hold over current domain knowledge structures.

“Starting from confusion… we are so use[d] to wanting a structure and to be right and yet confusion and productive failure can help you to remember what you’re learning.”
~workshop participant

Lecturers can plan time and create space for student minds to ruminate on the new information and develop ways to help them make connections.

“The significance to students of being given the opportunity to pause, take stock and learn from their peers and not just the lecturer.”
~workshop participant

Design short chunks of content interspersed with engaging ‘interactive windows’.

3. Apply deeper learning question and justify strategies

In a nutshell, to guide students from surface to deeper learning we want to focus on the ways in which they can apply their knowledge to problems.

Here, we can draw from the Hewlett Foundation and Marc Chun’s work (Diving Into Deeper Learning – TEDx Talk) on transfer.

I describe transfer as:

drawing out from memory the material learned, digested and transformed at one point to apply it at (an)other point(s) in the future.

Transfer flows are encapsulated by Angus Macgyver and James Bond / 007 (see below):

  • (right) Q presents Bond / 007 with a tool which he then goes on to apply in a future (forward) situation
  • (left) Macgyver encounters an unforeseen problem and draws (backwards) on his past knowledge and experience to assess the tools available in the current situation to deliver a response.

The best way to encourage transfer is to design opportunities for students to apply real world, authentic, ‘wicked’ problems (vs. ‘tame’ problems, that have a pre-defined, pre-determined answer).

Bring the live real-time problems you encounter in your daily research, lab or clinical work into the lecture.

How can they, not only respond by indicating what their solution is, but explain why? The Echo360 ALP Interactive Slides give you the option to design in student ‘justification’ of submitted answers.

This is critical. Chris Rust (Oxford Brookes University), who presented at Macquarie last week, posed a provocative question:

If we want to measure student’s ability to analyse, are we really doing so if they can regurgitate something we have told them as the answer?

Explanation, justification, rationale, argument. This is essential.

For more information on:

  • the models used by lecturers at Macquarie to make their lectures interactive
  • the student and staff feedback from the live streaming and live lecture interactive slides pilot and experiments
  • evidence-based strategies


our workshop presentation and activities in the Active Learning Platform: self-enrol in the Learning Innovation Hub Events iLearn unit.

a summary of the workshop: download our handout (OneID login required).

When’s the next ALP workshop?
Find out via the Teche Events page!

Got questions?
Contact us:

What is the curriculum anyway?

From the University of Melbourne’s Centre for the Study of Higher Education comes a new podcast about learning and teaching in higher education: Beyond the Lectern.

In Episode 2, Mollie Dollinger and Jason Lodge speak with Agnes Bosanquet about curriculum. We discuss ideas presented in: Fraser, S. & Bosanquet, A. (2006). The curriculum? That’s just a unit outline, isn’t it? Studies in Higher Education, 31 (3), 269-284.

Here is the link to the paper:

Listen to the podcast on iTunes:

Written by Agnes Bosanquet

FoHS 2017 Dean’s Award winners

The winners of the 2017 Dean’s Awards were announced at the Full Faculty Meeting on Wednesday 12th July. This year we had one team winner and one individual winner.

1.Dean’s Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning

Kerry-Ann O’Sullivan, Jennifer Barr, Rowena Lee and Beverley Miles:

For supporting Initial Teacher Education students prepare and enhance their literacy skills for professional accreditation through the innovative provision of self-directed online learning resources.

2. Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence

 Penny van Bergen:

Dr Penny Van Bergen has 10-years’ experience teaching in educational psychology. She is passionate about inspiring research engagement and empowering her students as future educational scholars. In her first year at Macquarie, she founded and convened the inaugural School of Education Summer Research Scholarship Scheme. This scheme is now in its 9th year and has seen the appointment of 38 undergraduate scholars. She has also engaged over 2,500 students in authentic educational research projects and co-developed an acclaimed online research report-writing tool used by more than 4,000 students. She is currently piloting a new Undergraduate Education Research Club with 20 student volunteers.

Congratulations for all your hard work!

Teacher of the week: Janice Ford

Janice Ford is a Scholarly Teaching Fellow (TESOL) in the Department of Linguistics.

After realising I was not suited to desk work, I chased my original dream of becoming a teacher. Initially a primary teacher, I later taught English to Japanese high school and university students and loved it. I then moved to migrant education, English colleges in Sydney and most recently lectured in teacher education to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Alice Springs. Most of the students flew in for workshops and were horrified at how cold it was in winter and the fact that the rivers had no water!  Alice Springs is stunningly beautiful and living there was a dream come true.

I enjoy Scottish Country Dancing, spending time with family – especially two young grandchildren who make me laugh, catching waves at the beach, and have recently taken up art classes. Apparently you actually can learn to draw and paint, it is not just a gift some folk possess – although it is early days yet – no exhibitions are planned for the immediate future. And I proudly cook one plum pudding each Christmas.

1. What are your main teaching commitments?

Graduate Certificate of TESOL units – APPL600 Language Teaching Methodologies, APPL922 Practicum in TESOL and APPL929 Evaluating Language Classroom Practice .

2. What’s the biggest challenge you face as a university teacher?

I would have to say engaging external students and assisting students, especially returning and International Ss, through the maze of online and blended learning – I have been a returning student studying externally in French I know how isolating and overwhelming it can be. Oh, and marking!!! What do a cockatoo and a lecturer have in common? They both go “MARK! MARK!”

3. What has helped you improve your teaching most and why?

Present continuous – “What is helping me improve my teaching?” Perhaps ‘who’ would be more appropriate. The sharing that happens here. There are PD sessions on using technology, the Foundations in Learning and Teaching (FiLT) course, and the Teaching Innovations in Linguistics group Claire Layfield established for the Scholarly Teaching Fellows in Linguistics. These all encourage me to reflect on my current practice and how my previous knowledge, skills and techniques need to be adapted to a different context.

4. What’s been your most memorable moment in teaching?

Several: At MQ, having nearly 60 students on their feet singing ‘Heads, shoulders, knees and toes’ in an Aboriginal language in Week 1.  The first 15 practicum portfolios I marked this session had me in tears for the quality of the responses and insight the students could articulate. In teaching generally, the moments when a frustrated, perhaps angry student, understands and relaxes, smiles, shares with another student or thanks me. They are the moments that count.

5. Who is your favourite music band? Why?

Anything I can dance to, especially Scottish Country Dance music with fiddles and piano accordians  – Luke Brady Dance Band is great.

Marks are a phony currency

“Marks are a phony currency” – Professor Chris Rust on assessment

Last Wednesday, the Learning Collective attended a workshop by Chris Rust, Emeritus Professor of Higher Education at Oxford Brookes University, on REDESIGNING COURSE ASSESSMENT-A PROGRAM LEADER’S GUIDE.

The workshop argued for the need to reduce (but improve) summative assessment, while increasing opportunities for formative assessment, the development of the students’ assessment literacy, and effective engagement with feedback at a program level. Overall, the workshop affirmed the value of the program-based approach that the Faculty is taking. Rust advocates for developing simple mechanisms that force people to talk to each other about their teaching.

Rust quoted Boud (1995) “We must confront the ways in which assessment undermines learning” and asked some thought-provoking questions: How confident are you that graduates have achieved all of the program learning outcomes? Do you assess higher order, complex outcomes? Does the sum of the unit learning outcomes add up to the program outcomes? Can students see the linkages between units?

During the workshop, Rust offered a number of provocations about assessment in higher education:

  • We are trying to make assessment both formative and summative by providing both marks and feedback. If we take a purely formative approach, students can take risks and learn for future tasks.
  • We don’t need the plethora of numbers we have in order to graduate students. We can make decisions about student achievement with fewer marks.
  • Marks have become a phony currency – students won’t work unless we pay them.
  • We should ban numbers (marks) in assessment.

The workshop offered helpful practical tips, such as asking students to submit a two sentence response to feedback sheet with assessment tasks. “In my last assessment, I received the following feedback …” “I have applied this feedback to this task by …” Rust also shared this (PDF) resource he has developed” Improve your students’ performance in 90 minutes.
This Teche post by Chris Froissard provides a useful sumnmary of the workshop. To access the original slides of Chris’ presentation follow this link (requires OneID login).


Written by Agnes Bosanquet

Senior Teaching Fellow, Faculty of Human Sciences